A Man from Springfield Inherited Rare John F. Kennedy Letters

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Provided by Fox Business

Provided by Fox Business

FOX Business’s latest reality ambition, Strange Inheritance, is back with a special Presidents Day episode on February 16, and to honor the holiday, they’re documenting a man from Springfield who acquired rare handwritten letters from President John F. Kennedy.

Dennis Harkins is heir of the letters whose mother passed away in 1990, leaving him correspondence with Dennis’s uncle Harold. Harold was a sailor who joined the Navy in November 1941, and was aboard the motor torpedo boat PT-109—the boat commanded by Lieutenant, junior grade John F. Kennedy during World War II. Harold, only 19, was lost in the South Pacific following a deadly encounter with a Japanese destroyer.

After the loss of Harold, Kennedy wrote to Harold’s mother. Part of the letter reads:

This letter is to offer my deepest sympathy to you for the loss of your son. I realize that there is nothing that I can say can make your sorrow less; particularly as I know him.

According to the episode’s tale, Harold’s mother Jenny responded back to Kennedy thanking him, and also asked if Harold could still be alive. Kennedy wrote back that there was no trace of him when the crew was united on the coast. Since then, Jenny and Kennedy kept in touch. Jenny visited Kennedy when he returned to Boston to treat injuries. He wrote to her years later even after he took the White House.

But we know how this ends: Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Jenny later died in 1973, and passed on her letters from the president to her daughter and Dennis Harkin’s mother, Elaine. When Elaine died in the ’80s, Dennis inherited them. They’ve been in a safety deposit box since.

The drama unfolds on Monday’s episode of Strange Inheritance as Dennis discovers the possible historical value of the letters, and also the likelihood that they’re worth a lot of money. Host Jamie Colby also visits Battleship Cove in Fall River to see the PT boat firsthand.

 

The Presidents Day special edition episode of Strange Inheritance airs Monday, February 16 on FOX Business at 9 p.m.

Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/arts-entertainment/2015/02/15/strange-inheritance-jfk-letters/